Covington lawsuit against Washington Post reopened


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A federal judge has reinstated the $250 million lawsuit by Covington teenager Nicolas Sandmann against the Washington Post for slandering him during its news coverage.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman agreed to permit discovery on three of 33 allegedly libelous statements in The Post’s coverage of the Jan. 18 incident pertaining to teenager Nicholas Sandmann. The Post has insisted that its reporting was fair and accurate.

All three flagged statements from the newspaper’s coverage refer to Omaha Nation elder Nathan Phillips being blocked or impeded by Nicholas, a student at Covington Catholic High School, during their viral encounter at the Lincoln Memorial stairs.

Since the video of the event quite clearly shows that Sandmann never blocked anyone, that if anything Nathan Phillips pursued Sandmann, the Post is now very vulnerable to losing the suit. This decision also suggests that Sandmann’s lawsuits against CNN and NBC will also go forward.

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11 comments

  • mike shupp

    The Post did 250 million bucks of damage to the kid’s reputation? Seriously? That’s 25 million more than Bezos paid to buy the Post.

    And y’know, if the kid had shrugged it off, just joked about “That’s my 15 minutes of fame” and gotten off with his life, that’d have been the end of it. Nobody’d much care.

    So why’s this still a live issue?

  • mike shupp: You reveal your leftist tendencies here. I can sum up your statement like so: “This didn’t happen to me, so why should I or anyone care?”

    I wonder if you would be so sanguine if it was your 16-year-old who was smeared on national television as a racist and a bigot.

  • David K

    He is still in high school so it’s not clear what the long term damages may be, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it causes him to be rejected from colleges or employment opportunities that otherwise may have accepted him.

    The 200 million dollars is not serious, it is just meant to get attention. It will probably be negotiated down to a 6 or 7 figures if it even goes forward.

  • Cotour

    Its about the kids Constitutional / Civil Rights and the media’s blatant and purposefully lying about what the kid allegedly did and the surrendering of their fiduciary responsibility to not do that.

    The media slandered the kid in a national / world wide / multi media forum. If you were to believe the media the kid was a trouble maker and disrespectful to an alleged veteran while he was wearing a MAGA hat and the media attempted to tie the two together in order to discredit the kid, the president and the MAGA movement. And it has been clearly established that the exect opposite was true, the “Vet” was the instigator.

    That is the medias #1 job, to lie. They long ago have thrown their journalistic standards out the window in order to get “The Orange Man”.

    The kid applies to college and in the admissions process his interviewer asks: Arent you that kid that disrespected that veteran while you were wearing a MAGA hat? We don’t like Trump at this school. DENIED!

    And the kid did nothing that the paper alleged that he did.

    Maybe the kid settles for an NDA and $5 million? And maybe the paper better executes their responsibility in the future? Nah.

    Thats why its still an issue.

  • Dick Eagleson

    mike shupp,

    Actually, the damages being demanded in this case are exactly equal to what Bezos paid for the WaPo in 2016.

    If this complaint actually goes to trial, it will be the jury that decides what damages, if any, are awarded. The suit is being brought because the mainstream media, having long since abdicated any journalistic responsibility in favor of shameless pimping for the Democratic Party agenda of the moment, has also long since shown it has no compunctions about doing what it can to destroy ordinary citizens who fail to tug the forelock to their progressive would-be masters.

    Perhaps you recall “Joe the Plumber” who committed the unpardonable offense of asking Barack Obama some inconvenient questions in public before he was even elected to the Presidency? The Democratic Party-stooge media went after that guy hammer and tongs.

    The “Covington Boys” simply decided they weren’t going to just hunker down and take the ration of crap coming their way. So they’re fighting back as the law, quite properly, allows. Completing the process of bankrupting a few of these arrogant “news” organizations would be good for the climate of political rhetoric and for the nation as a whole.

  • wayne

    L. Lin Wood says ‘false speech has no value’
    Life Liberty and Levin March 2019
    https://youtu.be/9aUHJ6ijvL4
    12:18

  • wayne

    Ref- “damages,” –there are ‘actual’ & punitive amounts in play.
    You want to make them hurt where it counts, and not just issue a retraction and go about their fake-news merry way.

  • Slatey Cleavage

    “And y’know, if the kid had shrugged it off, just joked about “That’s my 15 minutes of fame” and gotten off with his life, that’d have been the end of it. Nobody’d much care.”

    mike shupp: It’s perfectly okay for Leftists to downplay the role of Washington Compost “journalists” who defamed the child. But if it were someone you admired or cared for than I’ll bet your dismissive response might be different.

    When I think of the all reasons why I walked away from the D party 18 years ago, the Kavanaugh and Covington hate fests rise to the surface, along with the desire to take away my most cherished rights as an American:
    Free speech
    Due process
    Colorblindness

  • mike shupp

    General rule, compensation for actual damage ought to be about the damages cost. Somebody hits you in a car accident, they ought to pay back your hospital bills and replace your car, maybe pay something to make up for your lost income, that kind of thing. Plus lawyer’s bills, if applicable. If there’s payback for recklessness or malice or comparable bad behavior, courts will sometimes double or triple the award.

    Physical damages to Nick Sandman don’t seem very high. Maybe the camera lights have hurt his eyes for a while. Damage to his esteem and reputation … hard to say. Would we remember his name or be discussing him now if he and his lawyers didn’t bring him up in the papers and social media? I kind of doubt it.

    Was he unfairly impugned for that “confrontation” by the Washington Post? Arguably so — I’m not here to pile praise on 21st journalistic methods — but for just about all practical purposes a simple 4-line retraction in the paper would have satisfied his complaints. “I’m the guy mentioned in this newspaper story” he might be saying in his college applications or Facebook page; “and here’s the retraction that came two weeks later.”

    What’s comparable? Did anyone recompense Monica Lewinsky for her front page exposure back in the late 1990’s? I don’t recall it; Wikipedia doesn’t mention anything. She’s made a couple million since trading on her “fame”; other hand, she seems to have spent most of it on lawsuits against detractors who are probably scuzzier than Nick Sandman will encounter.

    And the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings — 20 kids dead, 6 or 7 adults (depending on whether you count Adam Lanza’s mother, who actually died first) . Did the families involved in that get some kind of damages? Nothing like 250 million each as I recall, not even 250 million for the lot, even after Alex Jones of InfoWars agreed to stop blaming the parents of the dead kids as impersonators and professional actors engaging in a sham to promote gun control.

    Or the 58 dead and 413 wounded by a single shooter in Los Vegas a couple of year backs. What compensation did they or their survivors get. I bet it wasn’t 250 million each.

    C’mon guys. You’re being unreasonable.

  • Cotour

    You are listing events and people that stand on their own and have nothing what so ever to do with this young man being overtly Liabled and Slandered by one of the most powerful multi media entities and organizations on the planet.

    Slander: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation

    Libel: To meet the Supreme Court’s definition of libel involving a public figure, a quotation must not only be made up or materially altered. It must also defame the person quoted, and damage his or her reputation or livelihood …

    And what if the young man is hampered in what opportunities are available to him for the rest of his life? Like what business or university would want to enroll such a “trouble maker” and media focal point. All for actions he never committed. For actions that the media giant created for THEIR own political narrative purposes.

    If your Ox (son) were being gored I think you might have a different perspective on this.

  • Edward

    mike shupp wrote: “General rule, compensation for actual damage ought to be about the damages cost.

    So if Nick Sandman is only owed $1.95, then what is the incentive for the news media to not defame him again or to not defame other innocents? What about Sandman’s future college admissions and job prospects? People and organizations with ruined reputations have a much harder time living and making a living than those with their reputations intact.

    Does anyone remember what happened to Richard Jewell? He saved a lot of lives, but due to a bad accusation he is not remembered as the Hero of the 1996 Olympics. What should he have been awarded for his permanent loss of reputation? A dollar-ninety-five, too?
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3513548/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1

    The news media is careless and quick to judgement. What is worse, they no longer have fact checkers, so now we find that we have to hand out “Pinocchios” to news outlets after they have spread fake news and ruined lives. They get to slander and libel with impunity, and that is not American.

    Someone has to stop this, and they need to stop it before more irreparable damage is done across this country. It is bad enough that they get to do this with politicians and “public figures,” but doing it to innocent bystanders, such as Joe The Plumber (whose last name, fortunately, is difficult to remember), and to children, such as Sandman (whose last name, unfortunately, is not), is going far beyond immoral. It should also be illegal — and is, but it is a tort, not a crime.

    How can we have a government of the people, by the people, for the people if We the People don’t participate in fear of our reputations?

    Let’s not advocate for continued defamation and ruination, because there is nowhere to go to get a reputation back.

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